To Get Faster, You Must Go Faster

This is a pretty simple concept, right?

Sure, but it’s not always something we make the effort to focus on. Sometimes doing what’s comfortable is more appealing than doing what we envision as being impossible. We all get stuck in a rut sometimes.

Source: Pinterest

There are some time goals I am looking to conquer this year, particularly in the 5K and half marathon. My neighborhood holds an annual 5K at the end of August and my goal is to run it in 26 minutes or better. Last year, I clocked in at exactly 28:00. The weather was pretty oppressive (day before Hurricane Irene). Barring any crazy weather patterns, I know I can come close to my goal time.

My goal for the Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon in early October is to run it in under 2:00. I have come close with this one as well with a 2011 time of 2:02. It seems that I’m just two minutes shy of each race and while it’s ONLY two minutes, it will take some diligence and hard work to get there.

My runs lately have been a bit erratic and I will be the first to admit that I am not the most consistent. I’m hoping this will change once I start training in July for the Philly Marathon. But, nevertheless, I am becoming better at running shorter distances. My new running shoes have also helped.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that pink shoes don't make you go faster.

I’m slightly kidding when I say that my running kicks make me faster (they’re the Asics Gel Blur-33) but they are a lower heel to toe drop than what I’m used to and they weigh less. I’m just going to tell myself they’re helping me out a bit.

So, what have I been doing to GET faster?

I’m consistently adding little bursts of speed to my runs, especially on shorter runs, to mimic race day efforts. This helped me in running my speediest 5-miler – EVER – during the April 15th Delmar Dash. Last year, I ran this local race in 50:45. I was kind of bummed because I knew I could do a lot better than I did. This year, I made it a point to run this race faster than in 2011 and faster than I ever thought possible. I finished in 44:07. The other night, I completed a short run (a little over 3 miles – it was all I had time for) and hit a 7:53/mile. Slow for some, but fast for me.

Putting in that little extra effort can go a long way. Everyone’s different so listen to your body. I’m not a sports medicine specialist but obviously, if you’re in pain – the “Oh no, something’s wrong” kind of pain, not the “Oh, let me just slow down because I’m tired” kind of pain – then you should definitely stop to rest. Always follow your instincts and if you really feel that something is amiss it’s wise to seek medical care.

There are different types of speed/track workouts you can try like Yasso 800s which are fun. There’s a great article in the June issue of Runner’s World about nailing certain time goals in the 5K. It includes helpful tips and small training plans. You can also check out this Runner’s World article that’s equally as informative.

Take yourself out of your comfort zone and enjoy the ride!

How do you train to run faster? Do you like speed workouts? PR any races lately or nail any time goals in training? 

6 thoughts on “To Get Faster, You Must Go Faster

  1. If I had those awesome pink shoes I think I would run 24/7.

    Right now I’m not really doing speedwork, just concentrating on getting miles in as I head toward my first full marathon. Once that’s over I’d like to get my 5K time below 25:00. I don’t think I can do it this year, but by mid-2013 I’m hoping to be there!

  2. I am loving speedwork!! I am slowly working my way into the next fastest group on my women’s team because I am between groups pacewise. Its scary to try to push, but I love the satisfaction of seeing paces I never thought possible, and realizing “hey… I wasn’t dying when I did that”. Speedwork pays off so much. I cut 1:30 off my 5k PR from last august in my race last weekend. I wanted to tell EVERYONE!! “hey random homeless guy…guess what I did!!!” Seeing the results keeps that fire going!!! Great post!

  3. You are definitely getting there!

    In past years I went to the local hs track weekly to do 400’s repeats or 800 repeats or 1600 repeats on alternation weeks. Basically run as fast as you can for the interval and then walk/slow jog half that distance (so 200 meters of you are doing 400 repeats), then repeat the process. I would work my way up to 6-8 400’s; 4-6 800’s or 2-4 1600’s.

    This year I have been doing a lot more mileage at slower pace (my mileage is up 33% over last year at this time and I do some fartleks on a lot of the runs. Run really fast to the second stop sign or run fast to the ugly green house with pink shutters, etc.

    Yes I like speed work.,,and I set 2 PR’s in the past 2 weekends (not this weekend).

  4. Hey, I happened to stumble across your blog from Dorothy’s at Mile Posts. I <3 speed work in various forms – running, biking and swimming! I definitely think you need it to get faster, no doubt. It really is as simple as you say – run faster to get faster. Also, the shoes maaaaay help 😉 I think my Saucony Kinvaras worked miracles for me, haha.

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